From 10 to 14 July, our Superior General, Graciela Francovig, is making the canonical visitation of the Sisters of the International Novitiate in Cordoba (Argentina). This community is what we call a “house of formation”. We asked Sônia Regina, the councillor assigned to the field of formation, about these houses.
How do you define a formation house?
A formation house is a community of Daughters of Jesus where young women who feel the call to follow Jesus in the Congregation, inspired by the charism of Mother Candida, can live for set periods of time and experience, together with this group of sisters, the life in mission of the Daughters of Jesus. At each stage of the beginning of formation: postulancy, novitiate and juniorate, the sisters of the houses where these young women are, must provide them with a community environment where they can find support and help them to mature as persons, their vocation, to know Jesus and the Congregation better, encouraging them to a progressive response of commitment to their own formation.
What is its structure?
Each stage of the initial formation of the Daughter of Jesus has specific objectives, some common and others specific to each stage, according to our Constitutions and the General Plan of Formation. This is so that the young women can progress along this path of knowledge, maturation, growth and committed dedication of their lives. In general, we take care that our formation houses have a simple structure and are located in popular and vulnerable environments, which favour the contact of the formandi with the life of the people, participation in the local Church and also with possibilities for human, religious, theological and pastoral formation, according to what each stage of formation requires. And since formation for the religious-apostolic life cannot be conceived outside a community – we are not formed alone – the presence of the “formation community” is very important; Daughters of Jesus who collaborate with the Postulant, the Novice Mistress or the Junior Mistress and who, with their witness of life, help to create a healthy and joyful community atmosphere, where we learn to grow in a spirit of faith and availability; simple, welcoming and open to the contexts in which we find ourselves.
Historically has it always been the same?
Throughout history, the houses of formation have changed places, cultures and structures, because the Congregation has expanded to different continents and countries where the charism has been inculturated with the emergence of new vocations. Also because of the changes and orientations of the Church and of Consecrated Life. Some years ago, because of the increasingly intercultural reality of our Congregation, it was decided to have some ‘International Houses of Formation’, in order to favour universalism and the union of the Body in the great cultural diversity.
Where are the houses of formation evolving towards?
Today, the number of vocations is growing in Asia, particularly in Vietnam, where we have the largest number of formandi.
How many houses of formation of the Daughters of Jesus are there?
Today we have:
– Postulancy in Bangladesh (Indian Pacific Province).
– Postulancy in the Dominican Republic (Brazil-Caribbean Province)
– East Asian Formation Community in Manila, Philippines (with postulants and novices from the Continent, Indonesia and Vietnam).
– International Novitiate in Cordoba, Argentina (Province of Andean America).
– Juniorate in the Philippines (Indian Pacific Province).
How do they differ?
In the culture, language, adaptation to each reality where they are located, by the specificity of the activities of the formation plan proper to each stage and the interculturality in those that are international.
Who are in the formation houses?
In each formation house there are the formators of the respective stages, the young women in formation and some sisters who make up the formation community.